Teaching your infant sign language may seem like a daunting task, but even a few simple signs can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with communication. With a few simple signs you can give your child a small sense of control over their environment and actions.
Many parents start teaching their infants signs as soon as they can sit up and be fed by a spoon, or at the recommended 8 months. Infants and children can comprehend language far before they can use it vocally. Sign language is a great way to bridge the gap of the two areas and help better your communication with your child.
There are many resources available to help you start teaching your child baby sign language. Libraries often carry books and videos, and many videos and charts like this one can be found online. Find the signs that will work best for you and your child.
Some hints and tricks to teaching and learning baby sign language:
1. Set realistic expectations. Some children will pick it up faster than others, but be consistent and the signs will come. Just remember that most children can't sign before 8 months of age.
2.Keep signs simple. Don't dive right into complicated signs. Start with a few signs that go along with routine activities like, eat, drink, all done, and please.
3.Make it interactive. Hold your baby while you teach them new signs, help them form their hands in the right way and make it a fun and rewarding learning activity. Try to sign as often as you can in context. Encourage and recognize when a child uses the appropriate sign for something.
4. Be patient. Signing takes time. It is another language and can be frustrating if it doesn't come naturally or quickly. Stick with it and you will see the positive outcomes it can produce.
Sign language is a great way to start early communication with your child, keep a positive attitude and the results might just surprise you.